oregon state blog

Week 6 College football preview: Washington St. vs. Oregon St. Matchup

OSU returns home for Northwest showdown

It’ll be more of the same for Oregon State in week 6.

Coming off a 38-35 shootout over Arizona, the Beavers are facing a Washington State team that’s very similar to their last opponent. They don’t play great defense, but they have a really good passing attack.

How will OSU’s secondary hold up in this one? And can Mannion top his career high in passing yards for a third game in a row?

Matchup: Washington State vs. Oregon State (14)
Venue: Reser Stadium (Corvallis, OR)
Game Time, TV: 3:00 PM (PST), Pac-12 Network
Date: Saturday, October 8, 2012
Weather: 77 high, 57 low, Clear
Team Records: Washington St. (2-3; 0-2) Oregon St. (3-0; 2-0)

Game Notes

This is OSU’s Pac-12 opener at home, and it’s their first home game since beating Wisconsin in week 2.

Last week marked Mike Riley’s 75th win as a Beaver, making him the winningest football coach in Oregon State history.

Sean Mannion

Mannion had the best game of his career against Arizona in week 5. Can he have another? Photo Credit: Oregon Live

WSU has lost their first two games to Pac-12 opponents this season—both at home. They are currently 1-1 on the road.

The Beavers are 4-1 in their last five meetings with the Cougars. OSU won their last contest—a 44-21 drubbing at CenturyLink Field. However, WSU won the last contest in Corvallis, a 14-31 upset in 2010.

Both programs are in the top three for Pac-12 passing offense, and bottom two for Pac-12 passing defense, in 2012. Each is averaging 25 points per game.

What to watch: Washington St.

Can the offensive line hold off Oregon State’s pass rush?

WSU allowed seven sacks last week against Oregon. Their o-line has struggled all season long, allowing 18 total sacks on the season. The team is only averaging 45.6 yards per game on the ground.

OSU has been able to put pressure on the QB all season long, but have had issues finishing. They’re only averaging 2.33 sacks per game.

If the Cougar’s really want a chance in this one, their line has to hold up better. If they can keep QB Connor Halliday comfortable, he can give that Beavers secondary problems.

What to watch: Oregon St.

The passing game—on both sides of the field.

Sean Mannion had his best game of last year against WSU, completing 26 of his 34 passes for 376 yards and four touchdowns.

He enters Saturday coming off the best game of his career, in which he was 29-45 with a career high 433 yards and three touchdowns.

Facing a weak Cougars secondary, Mannion could really run away with this one.

On the other end of the ball, the Beavers need to play better against the pass. They were decimated by Arizona last week, allowing 403 yards through the air. Staring down another pass-centered program, they’re going to have to play better.

Beavs O vs. Cougs D

While Washington State has a strong offensive attack, they don’t do much on defense. They’re currently allowing 161.6 yards on the ground and 309.4 through the air. That has them ranked 1o5th overall in the FBS.

Coming off a huge game against Arizona, I expect the Beavers offense to completely steam roll the Cougars.

Expect big contributions from the passing attack. Mannion is the hottest QB in the Pac-12, and his main weapons (Markus Wheaton and Brandin Cooks) are averaging a combined 269 yards per game.

One place Oregon State does need to worry is at the line. WSU’s pass rush has been solid in 2012—averaging 3.2 sacks per game. While OSU has let through a lot of pressure, they’ve only allowed six sacks on the season.

As long as the line can hold their own, the Beavers should put up plenty of points.

Cougs O vs. Beavs D

The Cougar’s running game has struggled all season long. They’re 119th in the FBS, averaging a mere 45.6 rushing yards per game. They had a total -8 rushing yards against Oregon last week.

This has been the Beavers strong suit, ranking 10th in the nation—and second in the Pac-12—on rushing defense.

Despite the lack of a running game, WSU hasn’t had any issues getting their attack going. They average 333 yards per game

Marquess Wilson

Can OSU keep Wilson in check? Photo Credit: The Herald

through the air, led by star wideout Marquess Wilson—whose coming off a season high 182 yards receiving against Oregon.

WSU’s offensive line has been shaky, but OSU’s pass rush has had trouble finishing plays. This one will come down to the secondary.

Beaver CB Rashaad Reynolds is coming off a career game against Arizona, in which he posted 10 tackles, one interception and four pass deflections. He’ll need another gem like that to keep Washington State in check.

Prediction

While many expect a repeat of Arizona, I don’t think the Cougars offense is nearly as dynamic as the Wildcats.

Finally returning t0 Corvallis, I think Oregon State comes out swinging and never lets up.

They take this one by a landslide.

Washington St. 17, Oregon St. 44

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